Munawar Faruqui, the standup comedian who was arrested on January 1 from an Indore show for allegedly making indecent remarks on Hindu deities and Home Minister Amit Shah, continues to stay in judicial custody, reported Live Law.
The report mentioned that the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday said “such people must not be spared” and reserved the order on his bail application.
On January 1, Faruqui was performing at The Monroe Cafe along with three other Indore-based comedians Prakhar Vyas, Priyam Vyas and Nalin Yadav. Soon after Faruqui went on stage to perform his set, associates of local BJP legislator Malini Laxman Singh Gaur’s son Aklavya Gaur Singh, who claims to be the head of a youth organisation named Hind Rakshak, went on stage and disrupted the show.
In his complaint, Aklavya Gaur Singh said that Faruqui had hurt religious sentiments and made indecent remarks about Hindu deities and against Shah. While speaking to Silverscreen India, an audience member said that though Faruqui was patiently talking to Aklavya Singh Gaur and requested him to watch the show, the MLA’s son stopped him from performing, created a ruckus and called the police. He also mentioned that Faruqui and other audience members were manhandled, beaten and slapped in the presence of the Tukoganj Police.
A case was initially filed against Faruqui’s performance on the basis of a video evidence that Aklavya Gaur Singh claimed to have submitted. However, the thana incharge of Tukoganj police station, where Faruqui was initially taken in custody, said that the video consisted of old videos of the comedian from his YouTube channel. Aklavya Singh Gaur then claimed that he overheard Faruqui’s rehearsal jokes and that he was “going to” perform them.
There is no electronic evidence for the claim, Superintendent of Police Vijay Khatri said. While Faruqui made no such jokes, there was “oral evidence” from the complainant, Khatri had added.
When the case went to court on January 15, the police failed to produce the case diary.
During the 15-minute-long hearing on Monday, a single bench of Justice Rohit Arya asked: “Why you take undue advantage of other’s religious sentiments and emotions. What is wrong with your mindset? How can you do this for the purpose of your business?”
He asked senior advocate Vivek Tankha, who was representing Faruqui, whether he wanted to withdraw the bail application.
When the bench asked the court if anyone wanted to oppose the bail application, a few lawyers opposed it saying the comedian has made “highly objectionable” statements and said: “The accused Munawar Faruqui has posted several previous video which was circulated on social media.These remarks were made 18 months ago. He repeated the same remarks on three different occasions i.e. comedy shows. This has led to other comedians making such remarks about Hindu gods. This is happening with 70% of the comedians.”
Monday’s hearing marks the fourth extension of Faruqui’s custody after his bail application got rejected twice- the first rejection was by the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate on January 2, followed by the second rejection by the Additional District and Sessions Court judge Yatindra Kumar Guru on January 5. His bail plea was rejected for the third time on January 15, when the hearing was postponed as the police could not produce the case diary in the court.